Clause 191 - Bail

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 16 January 2003.

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Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT) 4:00, 16 January 2003

I do not intend to get involved in the argument between the two hon. Gentlemen about the jurisprudential basis for bail, although I assure the hon. Member for Surrey Heath that I listened to him with a great deal of care and attention, perhaps more than his party did when it was in Government. It ignored all his strong views on bail.

I will not get into that discussion because the amendment raises a simple point that does not bear the weight of rhetoric that we heard from the hon. Member for Surrey Heath. The clause simply amends the 1976 Act so that extradition proceedings under the Bill are governed by the bail provisions that apply in other criminal justice proceedings. The hon. Gentleman asked about other Bills that are currently

passing through the House of Commons. This Bill will bring extradition proceedings in line with other criminal justice proceedings, so if the provisions of bail are altered, so will provisions of extradition.

The amendments to section 4 of the 1976 Act contained in the Bill will extend the presumption in favour of bail to proceedings in extradition cases in which a person is accused of an offence. That presumption does not currently apply—that should answer the hon. Gentleman's question—and the Bill will remove that anomaly by bringing extradition proceedings into line with other criminal proceedings. In conviction cases, the presumption in favour of bail rightly does not apply.

Subsections (7) to (11) will apply when a person has been granted bail in the course of extradition proceedings and will mean that the person is subject to the same liability to arrest as if he or she is granted bail and under a duty to surrender into custody in the course of a criminal case. Therefore, when a person fails to surrender as required, a magistrates court has the power to issue a warrant for his or her arrest. In addition, if there is reason to believe that the person is likely to break bail conditions or fail to surrender, he or she may be arrested without warrant by a constable.

All that we are doing is bringing extradition in line with domestic proceedings, and I hope that, on the basis of that explanation, hon. Members will agree that the clause should stand part of the Bill.